Neither status nor a pager

by Guel Riz

While working on a new project today I somehow ended on a trip down memory lane/ extended stream of consciousness whilst thinking of communication back in the days and nowadays. Here we go:

I started texting with one friend on Whatsapp in the morning, skyped with another then, calling my colleague about the project and FB messaging with a friend about my househunting. I ordered my dinner online (cause was too lazy to cook), got a confirmation email, emailed all day with work in Berlin and will talk to another friend later about going out or staying in. I basically was online all day and used every available source of communication except personally meeting somebody ( except my clerk in the grocery store this morning and my old grandseigneur hairdresser with whom I exchange niceties every day).

This got me thinking in two directions: One was about the days when we had nothing but a steady phone at home to be shared with the whole family. When we were literally hanging by the telephone in order to talk to friends or somebody special to call up, or to call and then hang up for one or another reason. Then came the answering machines and a whole new routine was established. After that the mobile craze began and I remember the first mobile phone I have ever seen in my life at Cafe Einstein at Kurfürstenstrasse ( the one day I was working there before I got kicked out) in 1992. It was one of these massive plastic blocks with a huge antenna and a phone attached. It caused incredible noise when ringing and a stir when the owner was shouting into it.

From there I wandered the lane and started thinking about the Nokia brand. I remembered my first Nokia Mobile back in 1998 and how cool it was to own a Nokia phone, way before anything Steve Jobs invented was anything near the mass market (or cool) and ‚connecting people’ ( Nokia’s claim for ages) was as hip as it was true. Some years later I inherited the hippest mobile of that time from my brother the Nokia 7110. It was the ultimate thing to have and suddenly these devices made their way into a must-have-items league of their own. Before that we were talking bags, sneakers, walkmans, jackets, music albums, bicycles and stuff as must haves. Your status as a hipster wasn’t defined by what you were wearing, thinking or listening to anymore it was defined by what you were talking with.


While sipping on my turkish mocca after dinner this thread brought me to the lyrics of an old Tribe called Quest Song from ‚The Low End Theory’ Album which I stumbled upon because Imran was citing it in an FB Post a while ago ( I had to look it up though). Q-Tip is rapping: „ Before I had a status before I had a pager.“ (The album came out in 1999 and is a hell of an album).


While I’m writing this I am listening to the album and am thinking about the time when the term ‚status’ meant actual social status. The term nowadays could also mean FB status aka online status. Statuses are exchanged in social networks and personal interaction gets limited one way or the other. Of course we are still meeting, going out, falling in love, breaking up and all that but on top of doing that in real life we are doing a lot of  it online ( meeting, falling in love, breaking up on whatsapp etc.)

Personally I feel that the more people are interacting online the less intense they are interacting in actual everyday life. Here in Istanbul Smartphone usage is a mania, EVERYBODY has one and is not afraid to use it anytime. ( While thinking about Nokia old phones and lingering on their pages I found this nice article which I would like to send to zillions of smart phone users via SMS ( old skool)

Mobile manners: Etiquette in the connected age

I don’t know where I will meander from here but thinking about this stuff makes me feel ambivalent about myself as I am also using all this and kinda but not really ranting about it. I love to be connected to people and I like being old skool and having old skool dinner parties and drinking nights out with not posting pictures or checking me in on Foursquare before I even arrived. I like taking pictures and maybe never posting them. My life is not funnier online or looks better with an instagram filter put on it.

My life happens in real time and also online and I wouldn’t want to give up neither of them but I would like my peers to be a bit more cautious about what they tweet, post or share via asocial media as a lot of the shit is sometimes really stepping on my nerves… and I would like to scream SHUT THE FUCK UP as my status but that would take the pleasure of the healing screaming sound out of this silent scream for recognition. In this particular case Digital ist besser doesn’t apply instead analog screaming would be besser.

Just sayin’.

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